Archive for category Yemen

Al Qaeda: Anwar al-Aulaqi and Samir Khan Are Killed in Yemen!

This is fantastic news! Both of these guys have been high on the most wanted list for awhile, and they were crucial to the propaganda arm of Al Qaeda. They are also American born, which makes their deaths even better. Nothing makes me happier than to see traitors of this country get their just deserve in the form of a hellfire missile. Death to Al Qaeda!!! –Matt

Edit: 10/01/2011- It sounds like there was a third AQ individual killed in this strike, and he is a top target as well. His name is Ibrahim al-Asiri, and he is a top bomb maker responsible for the manufacture of the underwear bomb and the printer bomb used in operations. Outstanding.

Edit: 10/02/2011- On the other hand, it sounds like al-Asiri was not killed. lol


Anwar al-Aulaqi and Samir Khan.


Anwar al-Aulaqi, U.S.-born cleric linked to al-Qaeda, reported killed in Yemen
By Sudarsan Raghavan
September 30, 2011
Anwar al-Aulaqi, a radical U.S.-born Muslim cleric and one of the most influential al-Qaeda leaders wanted by the United States, was killed Friday in a U.S. drone strike in northern Yemen, Yemeni and American authorities said, eliminating a prominent terrorist recruiter who inspired attacks on U.S. soil.
The strike also killed a second U.S. citizen — Samir Khan, the co-editor of an al-Qaeda magazine — and two other unidentified al-Qaeda operatives, the Yemeni government said. But tribal leaders in the area said at least seven people were killed. They identified one of the others as al-Qaeda militant named Salem bin Arfaaj.
In Washington, senior Obama administration officials confirmed that Aulaqi, 40, a dual national of the United States and Yemen, and Khan were killed in a drone strike on their convoy.
President Obama called Aulaqi’s death “a major blow to al-Qaeda’s most active operational affiliate” and described him as “the leader of external operations for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” a group known as AQAP.
“In that role, he took the lead in planning and directing efforts to murder innocent Americans,” Obama said at a ceremony honoring the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at Fort Myer, Va.
Khan, a member of AQAP, co-edited the group’s slick English-language Internet magazine, Inspire, which was intended to recruit Westerners to al-Qaeda’s fold. Aulaqi was also believed to have played a role in creating the online-only magazine, whose first issue in July 2010 included an article titled “Making a bomb in the kitchen of your mom.” Khan, a Saudi-born U.S. citizen raised in Queens, N.Y., and Charlotte, traveled to Yemen to join AQAP and likely operated under Aulaqi’s direction, terrorism experts have said.
Mohammed al-Basha, a Yemeni government spokesman, said in an e-mail that Yemeni intelligence had pinpointed Aulaqi’s hideout and monitored his movements before the airstrike.

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Al Qaeda: Closer Ties Between Somali And Yemeni Jihadists Threatens Oil Through Gulf Of Aden

Well this was a no brainer, but at least folks are talking about it now. So if Yemeni and Somali jihadists are working together, and Al Shabab is taking a 20 percent cut in piracy ransoms, then I wonder what the Yemeni cuts are? I mean that is a lot of shoreline now that a pirate could call home, if they were backed by the jihadists. If they did not have the support of the jihadists, then I would imagine they would come up against some problems.

The other way to look at this deal is the drug trade in Latin America. If you are a drug dealer in Central or South America, do you think you can set up your own shop and not get hassled by any of the large cartels? Of course not. If you did not cut them in, they would kill you. Or they would kill your family, and then tell you to sell more drugs for them! lol

So if Al Qaeda moves to control this corridor called the Gulf of Aden, then why wouldn’t they want to control these pirates? They could make money off of operations and they would disrupt western and middle eastern interest (oil flow, commerce). Jihadist privateering is a logical conclusion.

Now on to solutions, besides just putting armed guards on boats or squaring away those countries on land. I personally like the Q-ship idea. It is the ultimate zheng and qi strategy, and it would be one that pirates would have a very difficult time countering. The basic scheme is that you use a tanker or whatever boat as bait, and make it look like an unarmed vessel. You could even make it look like it is in distress. Then if it attracts a pirate crew and they go into attack mode and show their guns, an anti-piracy force outflanks that pirate crew and takes them down. You would have a force on the ship open up with the big guns, and a force on water that could attack. Whatever a team wants to use to get the job done. The cool thing is that there is no terrain for a pirate to hide behind, and you actually want the pirates to attack.

This idea though, would need a license by whatever country the vessel is flagged under, and there must be rules identified for killing and capturing pirates. There must be incentive as well, because if you want everyone to get involved with destroying piracy, you need to make it a venture or offense industry that ships would want to get involved with. Ideally, you would also want to capture the pirates and collect information from those detainees so networks can be studied and dismantled. So there must be a mechanism that supports the legal capture of pirates, if possible. Especially if an anti-piracy team wounds some pirates and those poor fools are in a sinking vessel. Do we let them die, or do we have a responsibility to capture them and care for them until those individuals are delivered to a detention center.

I believe all of these details could be hashed out in a Letter of Marque, much like they were in the past. As it stands now, we have armed security teams on boats that are great at repelling the assault, but they have no authorization from anyone to capture/detain or even care for wounded pirates?  What sense does it make to have shoot out’s with these guys, but have no means of legally detaining them and taking that pirate crew out of the system?

Now of course this tactic would have multiple legal issues to overcome before it would ever be considered. But honestly, something has to be done because the problem is only getting bigger and it is morphing into an animal that is certainly a threat to the global economies and innocent people. I also fear the day that pirates decide to capture a vessel and outright hand it over to Al Qaeda. Something like ramming a natural gas tanker into a heavily populated port or sinking the thing in gut of the Straits of Hormuz is a frightening thought. Believe me, if you can think it up, the other side has probably thought of it too.-Matt

Closer ties between Somali and Yemeni jihadists threatens oil through Aden Gulf
Monday, 18 July 2011
Affiliates of Al Qaeda operating on opposite shores of key oil-export routes through the Gulf of Aden have forged closer ties in what could emerge as a substantial threat by a group that has been dealt severe body blows by the Arab revolt sweeping the Middle East and North Africa and the killing in May of Osama Bin Laden by US Navy Seals. ?The closer ties between Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Al Shabaab in war-shattered Somalia is sparking concern among intelligence and counter-terrorism officials who suggest that AQAP may be the driving force behind closer cooperation between the two groups.

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Maritime Security: Naval Guard’s Escort Forces Save The Day, Repel Pirate Attack Off Coast Of Yemen

     Naval Guards’ Operations Chief, Thomas Jakobssen, explained to gCaptain that the 42-meter escort vessel Marshal-5 had been shadowing the Capricorn at a distance of approximately 100m when both vessels were attacked simultaneously by the Somali pirates.  Reacting quickly, Capricorn’s crew fled to previously rehearsed hiding spots on the yacht, buying them valuable time as their rescuer’s fought off the pirates.

     After a fierce exchange of gunfire between the pirates and the escort vessel, there were no injuries reported on either side, and only minor damage to the vessels themselves.  With a clear firepower advantage however, the Naval Guards quickly gained control of the situation and the pirates gave up.


     This story has not received much attention because of all the other news going on out there.  But because this blog tracks the security contracting industry, to include maritime security contracting, this stuff is relevant and deserves some attention.

     If you go to Naval Guard’s website and check out their Alerts section, you will see all of the attacks they have had to deal with the last couple of months.  I am not sure if this incident below is the only one in which they had an exchange of gun fire with pirates, but it does highlight the danger these companies face out there.

     Also, a hat tip to gCaptain for getting some clarification on the story. Take note of the effective use of safe rooms and armed security.  Safe rooms alone will not save the day. That safe room will buy you time and safety until an armed guard force from a nearby escort ship can clear the vessel of these heathens. Or if you actually had the armed guards on the boat, they would be even quicker to respond to attacks and even prevent some because of how close they are to the action. (these escorts were 100m away, and this attack still happened, and pirates still boarded!)

     The other thing to mention here is the type of attack that happened. The pirates attacked the escort ship and the target vessel at the same time (a swarm attack, a distraction move, desperation, ignorance, who knows why?).  I am thinking that the pirates were either desperate, or they felt if they could board the target vessel, that a private guard force would not take the risk and further endanger the lives of the crew with a rescue assault. They thought wrong, and Naval Guards and their client had a plan and they were prepared for such an assault. But I don’t know everything about this, and it would be cool to read a full blown AAR on this incident.

    I am also going to guess that they probably did not know the intent of this attacking pirate force until it was too late.  The rules of engagement-the shoot no shoot scenario-the policy written up between client and escort are all at play here.  It would be interesting to hear how these pirates were able to get so close and act so quickly–did the escort vessel not see it, or were they restricted by the ROE?  Mind you, companies cannot go on the offensive, and can only be used defensively.  So this might have been a factor in why the pirates were able to attack and board so quickly. Thanks to George for sending me this. –Matt

Armed guards open fire as ship attacked off Yemen

March 03, 2011

A maritime news portal says armed guards stopped an attack on a Danish-owned vessel when they exchanged fire with suspected pirates. says no one was injured on the Singapore-registered Brattingborg that has a Thai crew in Thursday’s attack.

Shipowner Lars Steen Rasmussen was quoted as saying it was the first time the company had armed guards on one of its ships. He could not be reached for comments.

The attack comes days after suspected Somali pirates captured a Danish yacht in the Indian Ocean.

Earlier Thursday, the head of a private security company said his guards retook a yacht from Somali pirates after the Dutch couple on board locked themselves in a safe room.

Thomas Jakobsson of Naval Guards said Thursday that six of his guards were accompanying the Capricorn yacht on a separate motorboat. Six armed pirates were able to get aboard the Capricorn but the Dutch couple barricaded themselves in the boat.

Jakobsson says his men had a brief exchange of fire with the pirates before retaking the Capricorn with no casualties on either side.

Story here.


Yacht crew rescued from pirate attack by private security firm

From the gCaptain

March 3rd 2011

Private security firm Naval Guards Ltd successfully rescued their Dutch clients on board M/Y Capricorn after it had been overrun by pirates in the central Arabian Sea yesterday.  The crew of the 21-meter M/Y Capricorn had contracted Naval Guards Ltd to provide armed escort for their eastbound trip from Djibouti in the western Gulf of Aden, through the Arabian Sea.

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Books: The War That Never Was, By Duff Hart Davis

By 1967, there were still a dozen British mercenaries in the Yemen, training the royalists, laying mines and setting up ambushes. More than 20,000 of Nasser’s troops had been killed, while the Yemeni royalists had lost 5,000. 

In June that year, as Nasser and his allies prepared to go to war with Israel, the Israelis launched pre-emptive air strikes, destroying the Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian air forces. 

With their total air superiority, they were able to decimate Nasser’s army as it advanced, wrecking its tanks and killing more than 15,000 men. Thousands more surrendered.

The Six Day War was a resounding victory for Israel — and spelt the end of Nasser’s dreams of dominating the Arabian peninsular. He withdrew from Yemen and after four years the Egyptian occupation was over. 

I have not been able to get my hands on this book and read it, but it definitely caught my eye after reading this review below.  These guys remind me of such famous and highly effective private fighting forces like the Flying Tigers or Executive Outcomes. This private army had a huge impact on events in the region as you can see from the quote up top, and this book supposedly lays it all out.

Probably the one story in this article that caught my eye was the event where they cut out the lungs of a poison gas victim, to send it back to Britain and prove that Egypt was using poison gas in Yemen.  That is news to me and I did not know that Egypt was using WMD’s during that war.

I also thought it was funny that Saudi Arabia Royalty funded the operation, which also included an Israeli air supply contingent.  Like the article mentioned, Saudi Arabia did not know this little fact and I am sure they would have cut off funding if they had found out. lol Cool book and if any of the readership has anything to add, please feel free to comment. –Matt

Buy the book here.

Jim Johnson, the leader of this private army.(he passed away in 2008)

How a rag-tag team of SAS veterans changed history in a secret war Britain STILL won’t admit

By Annabel Venning17th February 2011

Crouching behind rocks in the rugged mountains that rose abruptly out of the Yemen desert, were three British soldiers, former members of the SAS, together with their commander, Lieutenant Colonel Johnny Cooper.

They had lain in wait, machine guns at the ready, all through the cold desert night. At 9am the first Egyptian soldiers advanced into the wadi (gully), their infantry packed shoulder to shoulder, followed by tanks and artillery.

Behind the rocks, nobody moved. The success of the ambush depended on surprise. Then, as the enemy reached a small plain that Cooper had designated as the ‘killing ground,’ he gave the signal.

A rattle of machine gun fire cut through the wadi, bullets sending geysers of sand into the air, amid screams of pain and terror.

The Egyptians’ front ranks tumbled, Cooper remembered: ‘Like ninepins. Panic broke out in the ranks behind and then their tanks opened fire. Their shells were exploding?.?.?.?among their own men.’

In the ten-minute firefight that ensued, many of the Egyptian casualties were from their own guns. All day they fired on Cooper’s positions. But he and his men, with their Yemeni comrades, were dug well into their ‘funk holes’. As night fell the Egyptian force withdrew back to their base in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a, leaving 85 bodies behind.

It was a rout, the first of many successful engagements that over the next four years would see a small force of British soldiers fight fiercely in a desert war of which most of their countrymen were unaware.

Wearing Arab dress, like latter-day Lawrences of Arabia, the men, mostly ex-SAS, fought in a savage, dirty war of poison bombs, secret airdrops and desert shoot-outs.

It was an operation that began with a deal made over gin and tonics in a Mayfair gentlemen’s club and progressed into arms smuggling, ambushes and the existence of a private army, directed from a one-room basement headquarters in Chelsea by a debonair former Army officer and his sidekick, a beautiful former debutante.

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Cool Stuff: Predictions On Mideast Revolution–Economist Vs. Paddy Power

     Well, according to the Shoe-Thrower’s index Yemen is high on the list.  Of course this is not as current as the Paddy Power prediction, which indicates Bahrain as the next to go.  But Yemen is still a close second.

    Also, if guys have radically different odds from a different source, please feel free to post those with a link in the comments section. –Matt

Edit: 02/20/2010- It looks like Paddy Power took it down.  Although I will leave up the odds from that date, just for reference.

Edit: 02/22/2011- Intrade now offers contracts on who will fall next. Check it out here. Libya and Bahrain are very active.

The Shoe-Thrower’s index

Feb 9th 2011

An index of unrest in the Arab world

IN THIS week’s print edition we ran a table showing a number of indicators for members of the Arab League. By adding a few more and ascribing different weights to them we have come up with the Shoe-Thrower’s index, which aims to predict where the scent of jasmine may spread next. Some factors are hard to put a number on and are therefore discounted. For instance, dissent is harder in countries with a very repressive secret police (like Libya). The data on unemployment were too spotty to be comparable and so this important factor is discounted too. We took out the Comoros and Djibouti, which do not have a great deal in common with the rest of the group, and removed the Palestinian territories, Sudan and Somalia for lack of data. The chart below is the result of ascribing a weighting of 35% for the share of the population that is under 25; 15% for the number of years the government has been in power; 15% for both corruption and lack of democracy as measured by existing indices; 10% for GDP per person; 5% for an index of censorship and 5% for the absolute number of people younger than 25. Jordan comes out surprisingly low on the chart, which suggests the weighting might need to be tweaked. Post suggestions in the comments below and we will refine it.


Paddy Power odds (as of Feb 17, 2011)

Next Leader To Step Down

Applies to the next country from the below list to have a prime minister/president/monarch/state leader step down due to public protests,

Must be reported by Sky News,

PP decision is final in settlement. (amount won if you bet $2)

Bahrain 3/1               $8

Yemen 7/2                   9

Jordan 7/2                   9

Morocco 5/1               12

Algeria 6/1                 14

Libya 7/1                    16

Iran 12/1                    26

Iraq 16/1                    34

Sudan 16/1                 34

Saudi Arabia 20/1    42

Syria 20/1                  42

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Maritime Security: More Information About Yemen’s ‘Rent-A-Navy’

     Tariq said Yemen’s navy and coast guard agree to the escorts only if they already have patrols planned in the areas where shippers are asking for the guards. The navy and coast guard turn down “more than half” of the escort requests that his company forwards from shippers because the duties of Yemen’s national defense require them elsewhere, he said.

     Government officials in Yemen ”will not risk jeopardizing their relationship with supporting countries just for this,” Tariq insisted, in a reference to any qualms the United States and other donor countries might have. 

     Well, this is not really a new story, but still pretty interesting to read about. I also have to critique the loose use of the word ‘privateer’ in the title below. There is nothing private about this venture and this is the government of Yemen selling the services of their navy to shipping companies. This is certainly not privateering by any definition.

     Also, the Tanzanian Navy was contracted out to protect a Maersk ship, so the statement below about Yemen being the only country to do this is wrong. Here is the story I posted awhile back about the matter.

     But that does bring up an interesting thought. If Yemen is so strapped for cash and they are willing to rent out their navy, then maybe they might actually contemplate granting Letters of Marque to private industry? It is a shame they have to turn down all of those requests by the shipping industry.

     Yemen could stand to make some money off implementing a LoM system. They could take 10 percent (or whatever amount) of the fee paid to private companies by shipping or insurance companies, to do this kind of escort service. In turn, Yemen could grant a LoM to these companies and give them the legal backing to protect these vessels.

     Or better yet, if Yemen set up a good ol’ fashion ‘Prize Court’, then companies could take captured vessels and hardware back to these courts and gain legal ownership of those goods.(with Yemen taking their cut of course)

     Although like I have mentioned before, these thugs really don’t carry a lot of valuable things on them when they do these attacks. But you never know?  With all of these multi-million dollar ransoms being paid out, it wouldn’t surprise me to see some of these pirates buzzing around in Cigarette Boats or Yachts and wearing gold chains around their necks.

     These companies could even bring back captured pirates and have the legal system in Yemen deal with these guys–especially if there was incentive for Yemen to hold these pirates.  The international community continues to look for countries that would be willing to prosecute and imprison pirates, and Yemen would work. It definitely sounds like we have an interest in doing business in Yemen for the war effort, and this could be one part of that.-Matt

The Privateers of Yemen

Starved for revenue and riddled with corruption, the Yemeni navy and coast guard have adopted a novel fundraising strategy: guns for hire.

By Ellen Knickmeyer

November 17, 2010

Yemen’s leaders are pushing the United States to increase its military aid roughly 40-fold for their country to fight al Qaeda — but Yemen isn’t just relying on aid to generate cash from the international security threats burgeoning on its lands and seas.

For more than a year, Yemen’s financially pragmatic civilian and military officials have been contracting with at least one maritime-security broker to hire out commissioned Yemeni warships and active-duty and armed Yemeni coast guard and navy sailors as private escorts for merchant ships and oil tankers crossing the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden. The cost for Yemen’s escort service: up to $55,000 per ship, per trip.

Guaranteeing “the ultimate protection for your vessel and crew,” the website of Gulf of Aden Group Transits, Yemen’s London-based broker, offers shippers “a dedicated escort by a heavily armored 37.5 meter Yemen Navy Austal patrol boat” and ”six serving Yemen military or coast guard personnel to embark and protect your vessel.”

The fee apparently also guarantees shippers a degree of immunity regarding any ensuing battles at sea: “Any action taken by the teams or vessels provided … is fully authorized by the Yemeni Government,” says the website of Lotus Maritime Security, the Yemeni company that claims to serve as a liaison between the London-based broker, the Yemeni government and military, and shippers.

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